reserve chairman ben bernanke says u.s. unemployment, a huge problem, huge waste of potential -- human potential, he said. bernanke says the fed will replace operation twist with a new $45 billion asset buying program. overall, the fed is committing to buy $85 billion worth of securities a month. the program seeks to keep downward pressure on interest rates to spur the economy. >>> now back to the fiscal cliff. 20 days, count them with me, 20 days out from higher taxes and punishing government spending cuts if there is no deal in washington to craft a softer landing. with me now from los angeles, economist, author, ben stein. ben stein, good to see you, sir. you know, look, despite all we're hearing and seeing out of washington, we can at least discern some movement on this issue of taxes. let me just take you back, house speaker john boehner, his first position was no new taxes. president obama was asking for new taxes totalling $1.6 trillion. after the election speaker of the house ponied up an offer of $800 billion, exactly halfway between his zero and the president's $1.6 trillion.